As promised, please welcome Blarney (my first guest blogger) with her review of the Old 97s from the Pittsburgh concert….
Back in the year 2000, my then boyfriend and I moved in together and blended our CD collections. I thought mine was pretty good, and his was great. Isn’t that part of what having a boyfriend is good for? Discovering new music? One of the best finds in his collection was a band called the Old 97s. According to my then-boyfriend, who I’ll call “Dave” (his real name), the Old 97s were a pub band with a cult following who one was lucky to catch a glimpse of when they were still playing back in the 90s, but had pretty much broken up. “Too bad,” I thought, and immediately relegated them to obscurity. I’d enjoy giddy tunes like Timebomb and Barrier Reef in the privacy of my own home and live vicariously through my future husband, who’d had the good fortune to discover them live one night in a smoky bar in San Francisco. This was before the age of relentless Googling so it was easy to forget.
Fast forward to present day. I met Thoughts Appear and realized she had great taste in music. When her birthday rolled around, I figured I’d introduce her to the Old 97s, even though I knew on some level it would be torture since she liked to see bands live and she’d never have an opportunity. Sure enough, as soon as she heard both CDs, she was ready to see them live. “ROAD TRIP!” she wrote. That’s when I broke the news. “Pretty sure they’re not even together anymore. Sorry to disappoint.” I tried cushioning the blow, “I think the lead singer has a solo career.” Fortunately, Thoughts Appear lives in this century and was not brainwashed by my now ex husband. She used Google and found out that the Old 97s were together and playing in Pittsburgh, a mere 4 or so hours from us, and we could go see them. It was a dream come true for me. A dream I didn’t even realize I had!
The awesome thing about seeing the Old 97s was how much they sounded like themselves. Rhett Miller’s voice is pure and excellent and recording quality, even after all these years playing in obscurity in smoky bars. 🙂
And, he’s not hard on the eyes. I’m sure I’m somewhat biased by his playful, wordsmith-y songwriting and that flexible forearm spin he does with his guitar, but I was sorry to learn that he was married. You know, because of course I stood a chance. 🙂
He was also incredibly gracious to all his fans, meeting up with us afterward to talk and sign autographs. And, dear reader, he admitted that he noticed something about me from his perch up on stage! And I’m going to assume it was good and not silly! See, I own a shirt that has a certain design feature that can only be described as a built-in Flintstone’s necklace—large white cloth baubles. And Rhett said, “I actually saw you from the stage. What’s that on your shirt?” I think any time you get to reference Wilma Flintstone in relation to yourself when talking to a rockstar is a Dear Diary moment.
Thank you, Thoughts Appear, for helping me live that moment, finally. 🙂